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New Mommas, You Are Doing Great! Postpartum Life is Hard

I want to say to anyone who is a new mom or new dad that your are doing a great job. Most new parents have a really tough time adjusting to the newest member of the family. Becoming a new parent is the hard part. Our culture, our families, our friends seem to not want to share this information with expecting parents. No one describes the magnitude of how difficult being a new parent is. My doctor and nurses never mentioned or discussed the difficulty of the days after baby is born. This seems counter intuitive to helping a new mom adjust and recover while taking care of a baby. The first two months after my son was born were the hardest days of my life. I felt alone in my experience. Nobody else said that it was going to be so hard; so, I must be doing something wrong.

I did not enjoy this joyful time with a newborn baby. I do not understand why it is expected that new moms entertain visitors and have their new baby held by a dozen family members during those first days. Why? Why are the needs and wants of others placed before the health and welfare of the mother, which is directly related to the health and welfare of the baby? Rest and more rest is best for a mother who just had a baby, and is recovering from this traumatic event. And nobody talks about how traumatic labor and delivery are. Labor is not a beautiful and joyful experience. It is exhausting, painful work. To all the mommas, you are doing a great job. If you are too tired and in too much pain to visit with your extended family, tell them we have not quite gotten the hang of this new parenting thing, we are exhausted and still healing. Please come visit when we can all enjoy our time together. ps Bring food when you visit.

I write this in the hopes that someone who reads it is better prepared for the days after baby is born. If you are one of the family members wanting to visit the new baby, do so with care and thoughtfulness. Keep your visit short, and with the well being of mother and baby a priority. There will be lots of time to see the new bundle of joy, years in fact, a lifetime. Be kind to the mothers, treat them with care, and bring food to nourish and lift their spirits. If you are able, bring her groceries, cook a meal, do the laundry, be helpful. This is a short time where all things are difficult, and any help is appreciated. If all of these suggestions sound absurd and like a terrible idea, do the new mom a favor and stay home, and plan a visit when baby is older and mom has recovered.

To all the new moms and new dads, you're doing great, it's hard. It does get easier. In a couple months, baby will start to have more of a schedule, their behaviors will become more familiar and predictable, this helps you understand what they may need, they start to sleep in longer stretches, and you do too. Hang in there. You got this. It's ok to cry. Crying is totally normal. You're doing great!

For the story of my labor and postpartum experiences visit these past posts:

Expect the Unexpected: Labor and Delivery is Never Going to Be What You Think

Postpartum Experience Unplugged Part 1: The Hospital Stay

Postpartum Experience Unplugged Part 2: Home from the Hospital

I hope it helps. You got this!

Tips for New Mommas:

Finding it hard to take a shower when you are alone with baby all day? Put a baby seat in the bathroom with you. Buckle in baby and give him/her a toy to handle while you take a shower.

Play music. You and baby don't need to sit in a quiet house all day. When baby is awake, play some music to help your mood and babies love music, you'll be surprised how quickly they can keep a beat.

Go outside. Try to get outside at least once a day. Wear baby, push a stroller, or carry baby for a short walk. Going outside gives both of you a break from the house and makes you both feel better.

Is baby better behaved or seems happier when dad gets home? Don't be upset, baby gets tired of mom, just as much as mom gets tired of baby. A fresh familiar face makes both baby and mom happy.

What are dads really good at? Playing! If you need a break, let baby and dad have play time. No toy is better than dad's face.

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